ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued another notice to Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister Imran Khan, the second one in as many days, over alleged code of conduct violation related to upcoming by-elections on four National Assembly seats in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, whereas, Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan will submit his objections to the ECP notice sent to him regarding electoral code of conduct violation.
The CM was not present at the hearing of the case on Thursday.
His counsel represented him in the case related to the alleged by-elections’ code of conduct violation.
On the other hand, neither the PTI chief nor his counsel appeared before the bench, following which, the bench issued him another notice.
A four-member ECP bench comprising Nisar Ahmed Durrani, Shah Muhammad Jatoi, Babar Bharwana, and Justice (retired) Ikramullah Khan heard the case.
Giving his arguments, the defence lawyer said that they received the ECP notice only a day earlier, on Wednesday, whereas, the district monitoring officer (DMO) Charsadda issued the CM KP a similar notice summoning the CM KP in Charsadda today (Friday).
“There’s this ECP notice and there’s the DMO’s notice. How can the hearing of this case take place at two separate forums simultaneously?” the counsel questioned.
Jatoi, the bench member, responded that there were “several” reports of the use of state machinery by the KP government in a bid to influence by-elections which were not only related to Charsadda but also other three constituencieswhere by-elections were scheduled on October 16.
This, Jatoi said, was the reason the ECP took notice of the matter.
The senior KP government officials and the chairman PTI were fined previously over code of conduct violation, he added.
The defence lawyer replied that the DMO could not impose a fine on any candidate and that the CM KP will submit his objections to the notices issued by the ECP and the DMO Charsadda.
The case was adjourned till October 3.
The ECP has announced by-elections on 12 legislative seats on October 16. These seats comprise nine NA and three Punjab Assembly seats.
Four of these NA seats fall in KP; NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar, and NA-45 Kurram. Three NA seats fall in Punjab; NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib, and NA-157 Multan. And two NA seats are located in Sindh; NA-237 Malir and NA-239 Korangi.
Barring NA-157 Multan, the PTI chief is contesting against his political rivals on the rest of the eight NA seats. GoharBano Qureshi, the daughter of PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, is the PTI’s candidate for NA-157 Multan.
The three PA seats where by-polls are scheduled are: PP-139 Sheikhupura, PP-209 Khanewal, and PP-241 Bahawalnagar.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022